DOMA Author Bob Barr Clams Up About Supreme Court Decision

In 2008, Barr denounced the law as 'a club to club down the rights of law-abiding American citizens.'

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Former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., authored and introduced the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. During his 2008 candidacy for president as the Libertarian Party's nominee he apologized for his stewardship of the bill, which was partially invalidated Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But now Barr is running for Congress again, as a Republican, and he's not going to speak about the issue.

"We're not issuing any comment on this," Barr campaign manager Jeff Breedlove told U.S. News. "That's not going to change."

"Bob is focused on the issues affecting the constituents in the race for Congress looking forward, and he's just not issuing comment on this," said Breedlove.

[LIVE COVERAGE: Supreme Court Issues Rulings on DOMA, Proposition 8]

Former Rep. Bob Barr holds up his redacted copy of the Bill of Rights while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on the 'Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations' at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC., July 25, 2008.
Former Rep. Bob Barr holds up his redacted copy of the Bill of Rights while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on the 'Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations' at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC., July 25, 2008.

Barr has apologized on several occasions for sponsoring DOMA.

"I apologize for that," Barr told delegates to the Libertarian National Convention in May 2008. "Standing before you, looking you in the eye, the Defense of Marriage Act - in so far as it provided the federal government a club to club down the rights of law-abiding American citizens - has been abused, misused and should be repealed."

In a January 2009 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Barr argued that section 3 of the law - struck down Wednesday - was "one-way federalism" that "has become a de facto club used to limit, if not thwart, the ability of a state to choose to recognize same-sex unions."

[DEBATE CLUB: Read Arguments for and Against the Defense of Marriage Act]

Barr has inched back toward the Republican fold since his stint as the Libertarian Party's standard-bearer. During the 2012 Republican primary season he campaigned for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a fellow Georgian who is still popular in the Peach State.

Barr announced his candidacy to represent Georgia's 11th Congressional District three months ago. The district's current representative, Republican Phil Gingrey, is running for the Senate.

The Supreme Court didn't consider another part of DOMA, section 2, which prevents states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

UPDATE:

In a statement provided to U.S. News, Barr clarified his position on same-sex marriage, but did not directly address the court ruling.

"I personally believe marriage should be defined as between one man and one woman and, if it were on the ballot in Georgia, I'd vote that way," Barr said. "However, I have come to believe that it's yet one more example of the federal government's delving into areas that throughout our history have been best left to the states. I trust the judgement of the people of Georgia more than that of Washington, D.C."

Watch: Barr's 2008 remarks to the Libertarian National Convention:

 

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  • Updated 06/26/13: This article has been updated with a statement from Barr.